Thursday, 30 June 2011

A few strikes on the dee.........

  As many of you will have noticed today, all public sector workers walked out on strike in protest to changes to their pensions that will see people working longer and paying more contributions for less money when they retire.  I am a civil servant but I wasn't going to be wasting this opportunity walking the streets protesting or on some picket line, my protest would be made on the banks of the River Dee.

  The plan today was to concentrate on trotting and looking to be back home around midday as unfortunately there was still a busy Friday in work to attend.  Today also gave me a chance to test out a piece of equipment I bought last night from stapley water gardens, a FOX bait waiter and I am impressed with it, it made the feeding and fishing much more comfortable.

  Arriving at the bank I quickly set up my 17ft float rod and began trotting a steady glide I had noticed the previous week and instantly the float was going down the swim a dream with no snags to hinder my line and a good even depth. To my amazement the float was going through untouched and it took 4 or 5 trots through to get my first fish which was a nice plump roach followed by another and slowly but surly the swim was getting to the stage where I was getting at least a knock every trot down, with either a nice roach or dace being taken and then I caught a roach of a much better calibre that I knew when I hooked was a better fish and gave a lovely jagged fight as only roach do.

Nice Roach:

    With roach of this calibre around I decided to introduce a few grains of sweetcorn every few casts and continued to catch more roach and dace with the odd rogue salmon par.  On my first trot down with sweetcorn I hooked a proper zoo creature and after a tough fight a Pb trout was on its way to the net and with its last dart and turn for freedom the hooked pulled, gutted!! its bad loosing a big fish when you don't see it but to see the prize there and to loose it was even worse,  lesson learned from this is make sure the fish is on the bank before you have already caught it and photographed it in your head.

 Back in and the roach where still there waiting as was the dace and it was a big dace that was next to have its picture taken and with this being such a large specimen I decided to weigh her, exactly a pound.

Fin perfect silver dart:

 At around 10.30 the swim just went dead, I suspected all the commotion of the fish splashing on top had attracted the attention of a hungry pike or had some bigger fish moved in?? in this scenario these two reasons are what all anglers think and usually on the river Dee nine time out of ten its a hungry pike. I still cant explain what made me do this but I decided to just feed corn and stick with it and for the next ten to fifteen minutes the float just went through untouched but just as I was about to reel in at the bottom of my trot the float buried and I struck into something solid that stayed deep and demanded I gave it some line and it made its way into the flow, on four pound line and a stick float rod there was no rushing this fight.
  In my head I thought its either a chub or a pike has taken a fish as I have hooked it,  slowly but surly I began making ground only for the fish to angrily make an aggressive dart for the middle of the river,  eventually the fish began to tire and I got a glimpse of the fish and to my amazement it was a barbel after a few more darts for freedom the fish was mine and I was even more chuffed than last week as this had been caught trotting.

another river Dee Bertie:

  After this fish it marked the end of the sport and for the next hour and half I just picked up the odd small roach and I called it a day around 12.30 but not before I took a picture of the net of fish, there must have been at least 20 roach over half a pound. The picture below really doesn't do it justice.

net of fish:

  With the River Dee holding some real specimen barbel and with the way they are breeding hopefully in years to come a barbel in a days trotting will be common place they really do fight at any size and with stocks of roach and dace this high the future for the River Dee is bright.

till next time

tight lines


Sunday, 26 June 2011

A bertie from the river dee........

  The question I get asked more than any other from people who don't fish for a hobby is "what do you see in it?? sitting at the side of a river all day??" well in this weeks blog update I have my answer.  For me personally catching fish is the bonus to being on the bank, I love being out on the river before the rest of the world is awake, working a nine to five office job in the week the escapism a days fishing gives you is a big part of why I go fishing.
  The other thing you get if you are quiet on the bank is a whole wealth of wildlife and from a young age I have always loved my wildlife and if people in this hectic world we live in only stopped for a moment they would realise the vast amount of wildlife on their doorstep that you don't have to pay an admission fee to see.

  I took the picture above on Saturday morning whilst fishing and I think it sums my point up well,  swans are very protective and even more so with young but if you are quiet and not intrusive you can get really close to them and I was privileged to have got so close to this family on Saturday.

  To the fishing at this weekend I was determined to spend some time trying to catch one of the rare barbel that live in the river Dee but we are a two man team and with my dad wanting to fish for silvers on the feeder the plan for Saturday was to split the day in two fishing in the morning on the feeder for silvers and then moving venue to spend the afternoon waiting it out for a barbel.

  We arrived at the river alyn confluence nice and early and was treated to the sight of a pair of bats grabbing a last meal before the sun came up, truly amazing to see.  We set up on the river alyn confluence both on the maggot feeder and from the off we started to get interest from really small dace and chublets but the bites where really fast and we both missed alot of bites which we had a good chuckle about.

  Eventually some better fish moved in and bullied the smaller fish out of the swim and we were rewarded with a surprise capture for summer from this venue, the lady of the stream a grayling.

missing its head of course lol (really need to check my pics are OK before I leave!!)

  Not long after this capture we were visited by the family of swans moving upstream I had seen them on their nest the previous week when wandering the other field at Almere Farm, was it their first adventure away form the nest?? I'd like to think so.

video of swans:

  We fish the confluence alot and if other years are anything to go on the family of swans usually stick around the area and it would be lovely to update the blog with their progress as they grown up.

  The fishing was really segmented with a flurry of bites being mirrored with a periods of slow sport but around 10am my dad struck into a bite that had his drennan puddle chucker bent over double and the fish kept really deep, the sign of a better fish, slowly but surly my dad made ground on the fish and managed to get it closer in and just as I thought we were getting to a stage where we were about to see the fish the hook pulled but does show there is a few lumps lurking in this area.  The morning went in a flurry, why work doesn't go so fast I don't know lol but my dad did manage to pick up a nice roach as were were packing away.


  It was also a pleasure to bump into gordon ashton on the river dee as we were packing away and he now has the title of being the first person I have bumped into on the bank that reads my blog and I would like to thank you again mate for the time spent in helping me out and the tips you gave me, thank you.
  We quickly packed the gear away in the car and looked back to see some really dark clouds in the distance which had rain written all over them, a bit of extra flow it would bring wouldn't do the barbel fishing any harm.

  The car loaded and a short drive and I found myself sat in a swim I had singled out after some time spent looking on google maps for water that looked like it could hold them and from the look of the banks it looked like I was the only one who had fished there this year.  In went my chosen bait and after around 20 minutes I started to get some small knocks on the tip, small chub I thought picking at the bait, this continued for the next 10 to 15 minutes when all of a sudden the tip on my 1.75lb test curve rod whacked round I struck and I instantly knew I was into a good fish that was keeping deep and using the flow to its advantage, slowly but surly I began to make ground on the fish and managed to be it under the rod tip where the fish made a hard dash for a sunken tree  in the margin to my left, the drag tightened and the fish turned and came to the top and I got my first glimpse of a river dee barbel one final dart and the fish was mine.


  Needless to say I was head over heals with this capture and in hindsight I could have played the fish harder but I didn't want to risk a hook pull.  We continued to fish the rest of the afternoon I did get a few more knocks on the tip but nothing that developed into a bite and I left a very happy angler and needless to say this wont be my last session for these beautiful fish with this fish weighing around 1.5 to 2lbs I have got something to work on

  Sunday saw me and me and my uncle fishing eccleston ferry and to be honest the fishing was very poor although my uncle had a few nice roach fishing the pole close in.  To be honest the fishing was enjoyable till around 8.30am when the place turned into a canoe, boat, jogger, dog walking heaven and it just isn't my idea of river fishing.  The river is very deep here close in so it will hold fish in winter and I think I will be leaving this venue till then for another visit.

From 8.30 it was one after the other!!!! not exactly what you want when trotting lol

Till next week

tight lines


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Its good to be back!!!!!

  Before we get onto the fishing this week I just want to highlight a website that has been set up by The Angling Trust to monitor cormorant numbers and to what extent they have moved inland, the website link is:  In the past few years since joining Warrington Anglers both me and my dad have witnessed the number of cormorants increase dramatically both on still waters and on the rivers,  the birds are naturally sea birds but with the overfishing of our seas the fish have moved inland for food and are now just as likely to be found on your local river or canal as at the seaside.

  Many studies have been done into the effects a colony of cormorants have on inland fish stocks and reading the weekly angling mail you quickly realise that this is a national problem and not just confined to certain parts of the country, hopefully with the information gained from this study a balance can be struck with regards numbers of birds to reduce the damage these birds do to both fish and the stocks of fish in our waters,  High Legh fishery is the latest fishery in the Warrington anglers card to suffer from a cormorant problem over winter and more recently the club has boosted Ackers pit with carp above two and half pound to combat this problem with fish of this size and above deemed to be too big for them to take.

On to this weeks fishing.

Thursday 16th June opening day

  The plan for today was to get up well before daybreak to get to the river with a view to getting my quest for a river Dee barbel under way while my dad was set up for a day fishing for the shoals of dace that populate this lovely river.  We arrived at the venue well before dark to find someone already in the peg I had hoped to fish and with still being pitch black a quick decision was made to put the barbel on hold and spend the day fishing the River Dee at Farndon on the Environment Agency pegs.

  Having booked Wednesday off work both our feeder rods where already made up ready to go so setting up in the dark wasn't a problem and it wasn't long before we were both sat in our chosen swim touch ledgering to detect bites and we were treated to a truly remarkable aerial display from the resident bats which only added to the experience.

Back on the banks in the dark:

  The fishing was painfully slow with bites few and far between but we were both happy sat back relaxing as the dawn chorus rang all around us,  in my eyes there is no better way to relax and forget about the troubles of everyday life than being on the bank before dawn and sitting back watching and listening to the world come alive around you, truly amazing!! I did capture it on a voice recording but both this site and YouTube are having problems processing the video format.

  As the sun rose the frequency of bites improves but they were just tipping the bait and not taking it properly resulting in violent bites on the tip but no fish on the strike, really frustrating!! we did manage to hit a few of these fish which turned out to be very small dace at around 9am I struck into a very tentative bite which was no dace the fish kept very deep and swam up steam and fought it out under the rod tip, a true sign of a better fish, with only 2lb line I had to be very careful and the fish was soon making a very determined lunge for a sunken tree to my left, a chub for sure I thought, applying as much side strain as I dare I maneged to turn the fish and after a few heart stopping moments a beautiful marked river perch was in the net.  The picture below really doesn't do it justice its colours where so bright and its stripes were jet black like they had been applied with a permanent marker, my first ever proper river perch topping the scales at 1lb 2oz but it looked bigger and I think its low weight was due to it being quite hollow and had recently spawned.

First river "stripey" saved a dull opening day:

  The fishing at farndon was really poor and in hindsight probably not the best venue to have chose to fish and around 11 am we decided it was time for a move and we stopped off at a local stream on the way home, hoping to pick up a grayling or two and salvage a bad opening day.

We made our way to a deeper glide and soon had an audience watching us proving that even cows love to watch fishing;

   The results where instant with the first trot down yielding a palm sized grayling which dusted the cobwebs off the centre pin.

small grayling:

The next trot down produced what in my eyes is one of the best marked fish in the stream a salmon par:

  Time to pass over the rod to my dad for him to have a go and this gave me a chance to try and record him trotting down the stream.

Which predictably saw a better grayling take the bait, some people have all the luck!! :-)

  We stayed for around and hour and half catching a few more small grayling and salmon par before calling it a day.  I hope to get out again this weekend some time to have a go for one of those elusive river Dee barbel.

till next time 

tight lines


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Breaking our commercial duck...........

  With less than a week to go till the rivers open I had contemplated using this weeks introduction to the blog entry to show off some of last years pictures from the rivers and wet your appetites for the following week but I watched a video this week on YouTube, highlighted to my by another angling blogger called mark (link to his blog: ) that really upset and annoyed me at the same time, this is the video:

  This is the second river this close season that I have read about being polluted with another local river being polluted recently as well.  Accidents do happen from time to time but accidents to the extent they cause the damage above is unacceptable and the companies should be heavily fined but like all us anglers know the fines that come from this are nothing to some of the companies involved and the punishment certainly doesn't match the crime!! anyway rant over and lets get onto this weeks fishing.

  Saturday saw both me and my dad take the plunge into the world of commercial fishing after looking on the Internet at a few local fisheries in our area we decided that Greenwood Fisheries would be more our type of fishing with it looking like a more natural lake.  Our first lesson came as soon  as we pulled up dead on 6am to find most people already fishing or setting up,  feeling like a amateur in asking how you go about paying we found that they come around later on for you to pay hence them all getting there early!! lesson number one noted get there earlier!!!.

  After a quick look around the lake we settled on a nice secluded corner where we could both could command alot of water and try and draw the fish into us.  A quick plum of the depth showed it was really deep right in the side at around 6ft and we later found it was around 17ft in the middle.

The Peg:  (my dads was the one to the left on the video)

  I set up my margin pole to fish directly in front of me at around 5-6 metres using corn and maggot with some Bait tech marine halibut ground bait while my dad used the float rod with a Polaris float and a maggot feeder as the weight on the bottom I had also bought myself some Sonubaits 6mm pellets on Friday to use on a bait band.

After a few pots of bait going in I started to get a few tell tale bubbles around the float and the float buried and I was into my first fish form a commercial fishery, a nice skimmer bream:

First fish from a commercial:

    I kept the bait going in and caught another 6 or 7 more skimmers while my dad also started to get some fish as well with more of the same stamp of skimmers falling to his maggot feeder tactics.  I was catching very well on corn but I did notice I had to put a fair bit of bait in to get the fish feeding in my area and it wasn't long before I had gone through half a small tin of corn,  this wasn't a problem as I had a few tins but it did get me thinking how much bait you could go through had I had a swim full of carp to keep in my area.  I kept the bait going in and steadily caught more skimmers as did all the anglers round me,  it seemed all where catching the same stamp skimmers with the odd small carp.  From my peg's point of view the bites died completely around 11am but my dad was still getting the odd skimmer bream and then he hit something that pulled back a bit more I went round to investigate and a nice chub was in the net, his first from a still water.

Welcome Chub:

  Not long after this fish the heavens which saw me sat under our big umbrella on my dads peg watching his Polaris float and praying it didn't go under, which it didn't till the rain started really coming down hard when on queue the float disappeared, I grabbed the rod and started playing the fish that from the off I knew wasn't a skimmer but wasn't massive either and after a short fight a lovely small perfectly scaled carp was on the bank.

As you can see in the background the rain was coming down hard:

  Once the rain went off the place came alive with bubbles and fish topping all over, I went back onto the pole with little success while the peg next to me was bagging up on skimmers on the method feeder, not one to be backward in coming forward I quickly set up my feeder rod.  A few weeks back I bought a mould for my Preston method feeder but due to using my pole in the past few weeks I was yet to get to use it and I must admit I was really impressed with the results!!.

I decided to use only ground bait in the feeder and a banded pellet on the hook leaving the feeder to settle on the bottom for only 30 seconds before recasting again to try and build up a bed of bait and it wasn't long before the tell tale signs of fish feeding over my baited spot started appearing with bubbles on the surface and line bites showing on the tip but eventually the tip pulled round and I was into a fish.

The tip wrapping round:


With a better stamp of bream coming to the net:

Cast in again and near enough straight away the tip shot round and I was into another slimy customer.

These bites continued until we left around 4pm with the skimmers and small bream coming in fits and starts, catching two or three on the bounce then having to put in a few quick casts with the feeder to get them going again. The bream all had nodules on their head and where very badly marked from recently spawning so hopefully the carp in there should be on the feed soon.

Nodules on head:

  As we were leaving I got speaking to a few anglers from the other part of the lake who said that skimmers were all that was seen to be caught all over with only one angler reporting he caught a carp at around 4-5 pound,  by the way they were topping in the middle it looked like they had only recently spawned themselves and where jumping out to clean themselves of spawn.  All in all it was nowhere as daunting as I had thought it was going to be and I am sure will see us visiting this place and other places more.  Things I will take from it are to take a bigger bait alternative as I am sure it was down to only having 6mm pellets why I caught bream but didn't get into any carp and also next time I visit I will be putting down a bed of bait before I cast in to get the fish into my area and possibly attract some of those carp all in all a very enjoyable day!!

I have set up a channel on YouTube to post the videos on so they can be viewed on a bigger screen the link will be in the top right corner of the blog.

till next time good luck to everyone going out on the rivers this week.

Tight Lines

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Baggin up on the carp pool and an evening on the bridgewater......

Friday 3rd June

  In general I don't usually go fishing after a day in work but on Friday night after finishing work early, completing a errand and visiting the bait shop for bait for the weekend I found myself driving back into Runcorn around 6.30pm to a beautiful warm sunny evening.  I crossed the Brigewater canal at Daresbury and it looked absolutely spot on,  a quick run around the house getting some fishing gear together saw me attracting the attention of my dad who also decided a few hours on his favourite venue would be right up his street and within 15 minutes we were all loaded and making the short journey back to the canal at Daresbury.

 The swim we decided to fish was opposite some reeds which in theory should push the barges closer to my bank and make the track they leave in the bottom more accessible to me on my margin pole while my dad chose to fish the far bank just off the reeds.

The swim:

  The fishing for me was slow due to the tow on the canal on this section, fishing over depth to counteract this was getting me either snagged on bottom or bringing up the usual debris you find on the bottom of the canal while my dad who's swim was guarded from this tow by the reeds sticking out to the left of his swim was catching a few fish, mainly plump gudgeon and the odd roach.

  I managed to get my tactics sorted and started to get amongst a few gudgeon and roach but not long after a precession of barges and boats started to come through, one after the other from 7.30 for what seemed an eternity and made the fishing really difficult as no sooner had you got your rig back in another was on its way.  As the sun was getting lower in the sky the boats stopped and so did the tow on the water and we got into some better stamp of fish ending with my dad catching a few nice perch and skimmers, as we were packing away we were treated to a lovely sunset.

A small video as we were packing away a truly lovely evening to be on the bank.

Not a massive bag of fish with the majority coming in the last 30 minutes as the sun was setting

Saturday 4th June:

  The weather forecast for Saturday was for more of the same, warm and sunny,  with that in mind we decided to get up early Saturday morning and fish the carp pool in Wigan for the crucian's and the tench as last week hadn't really shown my dad the full potential of this place.  I had in past visit noticed that the bubbles the fish make as they grub about on the bottom had been spread over a large area on my peg and this is something I wanted to address as it was down to inaccurate feeding on my part so on Friday I spent some time putting together a home made pot for my pole so the bait would be going exactly where I was fishing.

A simple Aerosol lid with holes burnt in the side with a hot piece of metal was what I come up with after mooching around the cleaning cupboard;

and it on the pole:

  Saturday morning and after a late night on the canal the night before the alarm going off at 02.45 was far from welcome,  but once my body realised it was a fishing day and not a work day I was up and getting the gear ready.  I wanted us to get to the pool very early so we had a chance to get a picture of the deer we had seen there the week before but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

Video of the pool(as we were leaving lol as I completely forgot when we arrived :-):

  I set up in the same swim as the previous two weeks and began plumbing the swim and potting in a mixture of ground bait, maggot and sweetcorn.  I was very conscious of the fact the pot was quite a bit down the pole from the tip so to combat this I leaned the pole a bit further out than I was fishing so my rig went in above where I had baited this was made easier by the tell tale fizzing from the good quality ground bait giving away the location of the bait to fish over.

  It became apparent very early on from the crashing about in the reeds that some of the fish where spawning I just hoped it didn't effect the fishing.  The first put in over the bait and the float shot under and a pristine small tench came to the net, back in and another one and another and another.  My first 10-15 fish were all small tench and the same species of fish was being taken on my dads peg although the sport was much slower.  The fishing for me was the same as the session I had experienced and blogged two weeks ago. The fishing was none stop and I was fishing very confidently, potting in a few maggots and corn in with every put in and the fishing went from strength to strength and saw the crucian's get in on the act as well and for a few hours I caught a mixture of small tench and palm sized crucian carp and by 9am I was starting to wonder just how much we have caught already.

  As the bait started to go in a few better tench and crucian's started to come to the net on both mine and my dads peg and when the bites did die off a quick change of hook bait soon saw the bites continue although changing to bread punch on caught really really small crucian carp and roach.  At around 1pm the wind which hadn't effect my peg earlier on began to blow across my peg and this really effected the fishing for the worse and the catch rate dropped dramatically and at around 2pm we decided to call it a day and packed away. This time unlike two weeks ago we had come armed with a keep net to get an idea of what we caught and its also good for the blog to get a picture at the end.

  As always the last thing to be done is to let the fish go and pulling the net out of the water I could tell we had had a day to remember, a true red letter day:

Picture of the net of fish:

 video of the net:

I decided with it being such a big weight of fish to weigh the net:

  A quick weigh of the keep net once we had let the fish go said the net weight between 15oz and 1lb, to make it easy we called it 15oz.  We both left with massive smiles on our faces which are still present today,  15lb of fish from a pond and even if we don't catch next weekend on the last weekend before the river season I cant think of a better way to give our still water campaign a send off.

Till next week, two very happy anglers bidding you

tight lines